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About the book
  • Published: 15 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9780143203599
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • RRP: $24.99

The Pale King

David Foster Wallace's final and most ambitious undertaking – an audacious, hilarious novel. In stores now.

David Foster Wallace's last and most ambitious undertaking

The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival Wallace learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

Imagined with the interior force and generosity that were David Foster Wallace's unique gifts, The Pale King grapples directly with ultimate questions – life's meaning, the value of work, the importance of connection – and commands infinite respect for one of the most daring writers of our time.

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction 2012

'Overflows with Wallace's humour, compassion and, above all, his rolling, powerful, crashingly beautiful prose.' Sunday Times

'Anyone who has read Wallace will know the thrilling, intimate experience of following one of his giant held breaths of attention and feeling it fill your mind with thoughts that feel like your own.' Sunday Age

'One of the saddest and most lovely books I've ever read . . . D.F.W. writes sentences and sometimes whole pages that make you feel like you can't breathe . . . Let's state this clearly: You should read The Pale King.' Esquire

'I started to think in Wallace-style sentences, and started to think that Wallace-style sentences are in fact the only sensible way of describing the world.' Sunday Times

  • Pub date: 15 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9780143203599
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace wrote the novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System, and the story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men and Girl With Curious Hair. His nonfiction includes Consider the Lobster, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Everything and More and This Is Water. Wallace was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award and a Whiting Writers' Award. He died in 2008.

'One of the most dazzling luminaries of contemporary American fiction.' Sunday Times

'One of the most influential novelists of his generation: capable of stunning articulacy, moral insight and industry.'Independent

'A dense, agonised, brilliant and moving body of work. It seems miraculous, even heroic, that Wallace achieved what he did.'Sam Leith, Literary Review

'One of those novelists who seem to push along the evolution of the form. You can recognize his prose style by a single sentence.' Benjamin Markovits, Observer

'A wonderfully exuberant comic writer and ironist, a writer of boundless imaginative gifts. His work will continue to be read long into the future.' Jason Cowley, New Statesman

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